Development of low emission cleaning processes for metal surfaces considering manufacturing processes within the automotive industry

Development of technological optimisation of cleaning processes within the automotive industry which guarantee defined cleaning requirements and fulfil the criteria of a sustainable process design with near zero emissions.

Short Description




In the metal processing industry many manufacturing processes require a cleaning step within the process chain for degreasing and cleaning metal surfaces to gain an optimal product quality in following production steps. In many cases, these cleaning processes need a high amount of water, chemicals and energy and in the majority of the cases a classification of the necessary surface cleanliness isn't given. In fact, the operating requirements on the cleaning process are defined by the successful realisation of the following process steps, these cleaning steps are not the core business of manufacturing companies and due to the classification as marginal process step, the specific knowledge on cleaning processes can often be seen as limited within individual companies.

Thereby, in many cases a high potential to enhance the operating performance and to reduce the specific cost on these processes is given. Furthermore, these cleaning processes become more and more important as independent process step within the value added chain, as increasing quality standards require a defined cleanliness of component surfaces. In order to reduce the input of process utilities and contraries into the cleaning process, an integrated approach also requires an optimisation of previous manufacturing steps and a best possible adjustment when selecting cleaning technologies and chemical systems.

Therefore, the project aimed at the economical and ecological optimisation of cleaning processes by following an integrated approach, where the cleaning step can be seen as integral part within the process chain. Referring to this, possible optimisation measures were evaluated and potential treatment technologies to purify the washing medium were analysed in the form of laboratory experiments and experiments under real operating conditions.

Beside commonly used oil separators the practical application of membrane filtration technologies for the effective removal of pollutants to enhance the lifetime of the washings baths were evaluated. Therefore, in the course of experiments with ultra filtration membranes the effective removal of oil and grease with the simultaneous recovery of surfactants could be demonstrated.

However, for an economical integration in existing cleaning processes the technology of ultra filtration as well as oil separations or any other kind of treatment technology has always be adapted to the specific process and production conditions. Therefore, in consideration of the mentioned integrated approach the operation of cleaning processes can be changed to an economical and ecological efficient way.

Project Partners

Project management

DI (FH) Christian Santner
ACstyria Autocluster GmbH

Project or cooperation partner

  • DI (FH) Peter Enderle, Ing. Birgit Pointner, Dr. Mag. Martin Reischl, DI Christoph Brunner
    JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
  • Mag. Justine Pisjak, Sabine Biermann, Roland Walter, Michael Ritter
    MAGNA Powertrain AG & Co KG
  • Johann Pamminger
    MAP Pamminger GmbH
  • Ing. Rainer Hofmeister, Wolfgang Kraus
    SEBRING Technology GmbH
  • Markus Reithner
    Georg Fischer AG & Co KG

Contact Address

DI (FH) Christian Santner
ACstyria Autocluster GmbH
Parkring 1, A - 8074 Graz/Grambach
Tel.: +43 (316) 409696-18
Fax: +43 (316) 409696-33